Monday, April 28, 2014

The customer, once again, in control.

The customer is in control, we are told, despite all evidence to the contrary.

The latest, as far as I'm concerned, comes from the National Basketball Association and the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Stirling. Stirling is worth an estimated $1.9 billion and has paid Federal fines for housing discrimination though he's admitted no wrong-doing. (No, I pay fines for the hell of it, not because I did something illegal.)

Stirling made stunningly racist remarks about African-Americans and as yet hasn't received even a slap on the hand. Fans (those ostensibly in control) didn't stay away from the game either at the arena or on TV. Fans of the NBA didn't boycott the league for allowing Stirling to be a part of it. Even the league's millionaire players and coaches acted fecklessly.

Clippers players wore their warmup jerseys inside out. They didn't refuse to work. They didn't sit out the game. They did nothing to say, "this will not stand."

If they stayed on the bench, would they have forfeited a game they lost anyway? Would their opponents have sat out as well in a show of solidarity?

No, instead they turned their jerseys inside out. And viewers in effect endorsed Stirling's racism by watching the game--the game's advertising revenue only adding to Stirling's riches.

If this the best we can do, are we really in control?

No, we are sodden with the need to be entertained. We can't even shut off the set. We won't say something as simple as "I won't support a league that allows this."

Maybe Stirling is innocent. Nothing's been proven, so maybe this entire post is premature. Maybe the National Basketball Association will find an action to take that is truly punishing to Stirling. Though I personally believe it is probably hard to punish an 80-year-old with almost $2 billion.

But if the customer is in control, let us do something. Where is the power we are supposed to have?

Honey, will you get me a beer?

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